UNESCO City of Music

since 2019

Valledupar, is the corner of the Colombian Caribbean Region, located north of the Valle de río Cesar (Cesar’s river valley), between Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, on the west, and the Serranía del Perijá (mountain range of Perijá), on the east. This zone, which sits on the margin of the rivers Cesar and Guatapurí, is distinguished from others by transforming its music into a cultural model. This accentuates the relationship of the inhabitants with their territory and the social dynamics. This is the origin of Vallenata Traditional Music, a harmonic cultural fusion derived from the spirit of three millennial cultures (Spanish, Indigenous, and African) and that was included in the 2015 list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, with an urgent safeguard requirement, as part of the UNESCO.

The history and sense of the town are expressed through four methods: Puya and Merengue, life, wellbeing, and overflowing joy; Son and Paseo, expression of sentiment and contemplation, wellbeing, and overflowing joy. Through the latter, vallenato becomes a vehicle to build the collective imagination and the participation for sustainable urban development, due to the location of the city as a musical and cultural symbol for the country.

Valledupar is music, the historical influence that it has also had from other Caribbean rhythms such as cumbia and bullerengue perfectly demonstrates it. Its rural zone has been a cradle for minstrels of vallenato for 4 generations.

The Festival of the Vallenato Legend Foundation, placed the great acordeon party as the greatest event of such genre, in 1968. Since then, and throughout several decades, Valledupar has been an attractive territory  for visitors from other regions and which bring other musical tendencies. This has allowed the diversification of music genres along with the surge of events such as:

  • Earth of Composers of Patillal Festival
  • Guitar and Tambo bands Vallenato Music Festival
  • The Quinta KX Rock Festival
  • Cultural Ethnic and Folcloric Encounter of Sierra Nevada (ethnic encounter)
  • Bagpipes Encounter in the Village of Guatapurí
  • Vallenato Festival of Children with Down Syndrome FIDES
  • Feminine Vallenato Encounter

These festivals are conducted in partnership with public and private organizations.

Currently, Valledupar has an adequate number of cultural stages such as; plazoletas (small squares generally in parks), schools, and spaces capable of development and maximizing creative economic resources of the city. Over thirty three organizations are dedicated to the creation of cultural music for children, youth, and adults, including the vulnerable and displaced population. This sector has flourished around vallenata music, with the following schools:

  • School of the Turco Gil
  • The Music Academy Dinastía Romero
  • The Municipal Administration School Leonardo Gómez

The private sector and the academy have also seen opportunities of continuous productivity resulting in the strengthening of the vallenato universe, supporting the artistic formation of old and new generations. A constant job that promotes the exposure of knowledge of such music genres, its instruments, and its influence on a national and international level.

The administration, has defined strategies from the impact they have in reaching the goals of the 2030 agenda as well as the base of culture and local identity, through which can be found programs that directly impact SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions), and SDG 11, 12, and 13, which strive for sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and climate action.

As a Creative City of Music, Valledupar in the future:

The membership has allowed Valledupar to harness its musical diversity, understanding the importance it has for an integral development, confirming the acquired commitment on October 31st, 2019, as a creative city. Securing the search to preserve our music, identifying successful experience through training processes at the Leo Gómez, applying different methods such as: accordion, flute, guitar, caja (type of drum), guacharaca (percussion instrument), piano, percussion, strengthening the social fabric of our city through music, currently has more than 500 participants from different age groups, providing the opportunity in the rural and urban sector of the municipality, appointing gender equity and differential focus.


Contact: Alfonso Ospino Lara
Adviser Office of Municipality Planning, Project of Valledupar Bank


Phone Number: +57 3103677171

Facts and Figures

Founded on January 6th, 1550 by Spanish conquistadors, Capitan Hernando de Santana and Juan de Castellanos. To settle the foundation the Spanish capitan chose the septentrional part of Valledupar, showered by the Guatapurí river, which means “cold water” in Chimila.

The city is located at an altitude between 220 meters in the north, and 150 meters in the south, with an average height of 168 meters.

Population (City): 477.763

Population (City region): 544.134